How to play this fun tag game.

Tag games are fun, excited exhausting. And the game of tag is so simple, it allows opportunities for a wide variety of types of games. Here is just one exciting version of tag game: the Game of the Week is Elbow Tag!

Group Size:  Large group (10 or more)

Age Group:  Grades 3-5
Length of Activity:  10 minutes or more
Developmental Goal:  To develop cooperation and strategic thinking.
Equipment:  None

Before You Start: 

  • Have the group pair up with a partner.
  • Partners should link arms at the elbows and have both hands on their hips.
  • Ask for two volunteers and assign one of them to be it and the other to be the runner.
  • Demonstrate safe tagging:
    • Light touch, like a butterfly wings, on the back or shoulder.
    • Unsafe tags: hard contact that might cause the person being tagged to fall.
  • Have the players practice how to detach, who becomes the runner and who stays linked at the elbow.

Set Up: 

Designate a playing area large enough to run in.

How To Play: 

  • The player who is “it” must try to tag the “runner’.
  • The “runner” must find a pair of students and link arms at the elbow.
  • The person on the other side of that pair detaches and is now being chased by the person who is “it”.
  • The new runner must then find another pair to link up with, in turn detaching another person.
  • If the “runner” gets tagged before they can find someone to link elbows with, the “runner” then becomes “it” and chases the other person.
  • The “runner” must link to another pair within 5 seconds.


  • If the person who is “it” gets tired you can make the person who detaches from the pair become “it”. This person will then be trying to tag the player that was just chasing the runner. This way the person who is “it” is constantly changing every time someone links arms. It gets a little confusing but it is very fun to play.
  • The leader says “Switch” and the runner becomes “it”.
  • Let both the runner and the tagger link elbows, so both have a chance to change, and more students get to play.
  • Allow all players the option to be linked to a partner. If you are unattached you can get tagged. Any two unlinked players can decide to link together to be safe from getting tagged

Indoor Modifications:

  • Instead of running, only toe-to-heel walking is allowed.
  • Make sure you address the safety issues of tag in between desks, and it should be great!


Find more new and exciting games in our games library!

Love implementing Game of the Week? Playworks Trainers are equipped with oodles of tools and tips to help you get a recess and play program going today. Check out our professional development programs and bring Playworks to your school or afterschool program.


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